Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rock the Vote

It's time to vote in Canada- again. But don't let election exhaustion and hours of bad political mudslinging advertisements in between hockey periods get to you. It's time to vote en masse- it's time to rock the vote because there's too much at stake right now not to get involved in the politics and government that often screw up our lives.

Democracy is a system that doesn't exist without its people. While it's true that what we practice now is far from the original concept of democracy which involves an engaged and educated populace of mostly white men sitting in an agora, the core principle remains the same: the right to vote is the right to have a say in how things are run in a society. And a society needs the people to vote to stay true to its people. After all, how does anyone know what you want when you don't speak your mind?

And how can you have the right to complain about things being dysfunctional when you never expressed your opinions in the first place? This idea that people can read our minds or that they should just know what we want is foolish and often can lead to the breakdown of relationships. And in order for society to work, the people need to be involved.

It is often said that a society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable. That means the elderly, the impaired, the poor, and just those people who are struggling to get by in the world. If we don't vote, we show zero support for those people. We need to vote in the candidates that we think will support our most vulnerable and help make this country a better place. We need to vote with our values, our principles and our hearts. We can't let ourselves get too jaded.

But in case principle isn't enough, let's go through the most common reasons why people don't vote and debunk them:

1- My candidate won't win anyway.
It doesn't matter. You don't vote to win, you vote on principle and to make winning harder for the person you don't want to get in. At least it was recorded.

2- I don't have time.
There are laws in place that allow you to take time off from work (up to 2 hours) so that you can get to a station and vote. There are also advance poll days where you can go if you don't find time later.

3- Canada's first past the poll system is unfair and makes my vote count for less.
While this is true, it's still not a good reason not to vote. Just because a system is unfair and gives a better advantage to someone else in another part of the country, you are still one person who is entitled to believe in what you believe in and have your voice heard. And again, it makes winning harder for the guy you don't want to get in.

4- I don't like any of the candidates.
Surprise. Nobody likes politicians, they fall in that special brand of people you meet in hell like lawyers. It's not about liking a person, it's about supporting the ideas and policies that you believe in. More likely than not, the politicians are all big disappointments and have enough integrity to fill a thimble. That's no reason not to make sure that you have your say.

5- My vote won't make a difference.
Every vote makes a difference. Try this argument in a country where they're dying for the vote and see what kind of reaction you get. The price of democracy is constant vigilance. To quote: "People shouldn't be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."

Let's strike some fear in our Parliament.

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